Food Security: Part I

The term food security has become more common in national and international rhetoric.

That being said, it’s not that common.

Generally, what people think of when they hear food security is hunger and famine.   However, that’s not necessarily the case.   Food security can be defined as “access by all people at all times to enough and appropriate food to provide the energy and nutrients needed to maintain an active and healthy life” (Barrett 2106).

Therefore, food security is not only necessarily about starving people in developing countries in villages like this:

(This is the village of Katar, outside Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.  June 2009)

A large portion of what I find interesting about food security is in fact in developing countries (and I’ll probably talk about this more later), but I think it’s important for people to realize that food security issues don’t only exist in low income countries.

I’ve heard the argument that countries like the United States and Europe should not deal with food security because it doesn’t directly concern them, but that’s simply not true.

There are many people in the United States alone that don’t have access to food.  According to the USDA, “14.6 percent (17.1 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2008.”  I’m pretty sure this doesn’t include those who live in food deserts without access to healthy foods.

Food Deserts are areas without access to healthy food, most prevalent in low income neighborhoods.   This can mean that:

  • There are no grocery stores in the neighborhood and/or grocery stores or farmer’s markets with fresh produce are accessible by transit or foot
  • Consumers cannot afford to buy healthy food and must buy unhealthy foods such as fast food.

Think of the places you live or have lived… Where are the grocery stores and farmer’s markets located?

I know when I lived in Berkeley, the majority of the grocery stores were located near the University and the affluent neighborhoods while West Berkeley only had mostly small convenience stores.

This was just a small intro into the concept of food security.  My hope is that you think about food security as not only an issue that Africa needs to deal with, but something we should all be concerned about (or at least keep in mind).

Stay tuned for the next part of the food security series! Have a great night!

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A More Typical Day

Yesterday was sort of a fluke since I had a group meeting, but today’s breakfast is more the norm.

Breakfast for me is the most important meal and probably one of the largest (I aim for about 400 calories).  This doesn’t work for everyone but I’ve found that if I have a large breakfast, I tend to eat less throughout the day.

Breakfast is a two part process.

Part 1: Yogurt.

1/2 Greek Yogurt either plain or jazzed up a bit.  Right now I’ve been on a Pumpkin Butter kick, so I add a bit of that.  Then I leave a little less than 1/4 of a cup in the bowl so I can have some creamy oats…

Part 2: Oats.

1/2 cup of oats, 1 banana, water and 1/2tbsp nut butter (today I used peanut butter with flaxseed).

Today is another long day.  I have class from 9:00am-3:00pm, then I plan on staying in the lab and working on my Statistics project.

Coming up tonight:  A post of Food Security!

First Attempt at Thai

So a little bit of background… I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s.

Last time, the lovely fella came to this coast to visit me and his family, I drove down to Pennsylvania.  On the way home I had the bright idea of stopping by a Trader Joe’s because upstate NY doesn’t not have a single Trader Joe’s.

Well anyway… I stocked up on ridiculous things that I probably didn’t need.  One of them being coconut milk.  After having it sit in my cupboard for a month, I decided to do something about it.  So I bought some red curry paste and decided that I was going to make a thai meal!

I chopped up some fresh broccoli and tofu put it in a pan with the coconut milk and about 2 tablespoons of the Red Curry Paste, then added some stir fry vegetables then let it it simmer for about 15 minutes.  Then I paired it with some Harvest Grain Mix.

Pretty darn delicious, but sadly not as good as the Yellow Curry at Berkeley Thai House.  I miss California!